Of all the well-oiled machines the COVID-19 outbreak has thrown a wrench into, you’ll occasionally find ones that overlap with each other, and when that happens, clever solutions appear. Last Saturday Politico reported that New York City’s food pantries, soup kitchens, and meal deliveries for homebound citizens were all threatened by skyrocketing grocery prices, food hoarding by the general public, and volunteers staying home to shelter in place. The De Blasio administration is working on a plan to deliver close to 150,000 meals to the city’s most vulnerable people on a daily basis, and in order to make it happen, they’re reaching out to to another affected group: cab drivers.
The Taxi & Limousine Commission is developing a partnership with licensed taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers, whose incomes have been decimated by the current crisis. Drivers are being offered a flat rate of $15 an hour, plus reimbursement for gas and tolls, to make home deliveries of food and household goods throughout the five boroughs.
“New York City’s for-hire vehicle drivers have seen their earnings plummet amid this pandemic. Drivers are ready to step up to help the city in this time of great need,” Brendan Sexton, executive director of the Independent Drivers Guild, said in a prepared statement.
Politico also reports that more assistance might be coming to address this immediate issue, as state lawmakers are calling for increased funding for food pantries.